Block.One’s ‘Voice’ Social Network Has An Open Door Policy To Other Blockchains, Not Just EOS

During its June ICO, Block.one had indicated that its Facebook rivaling social network dubbed Voice, would be launched on the EOS network. However, plans seems to have changed as CoinDesk reports.

Voice has been touted as a different form of social media network which will have in-built crypto and have the capacity to deal with bots since each account will be verified. However, after the announcement in June, the firm went mum but in Dec, it announced that Voice will be launched on Feb. 14.

The announcement came with additional information like a FAQ page found on the Voice website which indicated that a private EOSIO software will be used to run the application. However, the firm was non-committal on whether Voice will be run on EOS saying that other blockchain networks can also be used.

The statement in the FAQ is contrary to a press statement made in June which indicated that the social network would run exclusively on EOS. Still in June, to indicate its commitment to run on EOS, Block.one had reserved a large space of RAM within the mainnet.

Asked to comment on the latest developments, Block.one spokesperson turned down the request.

It is important to understand that Block.one mostly develops software but they are mostly run by other firms. For instance, while it developed EOSIO software, it was launched by a group of organizations from different parts of the world to what is today known as EOS.

Despite the eminent uncertainty, the CEO of EOS Dublin, Sharif Bouktila, remains bullish that Block.one will use the EOSIO for Voice. He explained that if Block.one fails run its apps on the EOS it would raise eyebrows in the industry as who else is better suited to use the blockchain. He said,

“There hasn’t been a decision that I can see but if Block.one didn’t need to use the EOS mainnet for its apps it would raise serious questions as to why and who else should use it.”

EOS has been in the news for the wrong reasons in the recent past due to performance issues. There have been allegations companies running on EOS prioritize speculative profits rather than the technology. The revelation of EIDOS smart contract that paid users for the number of transactions made is just one of the many. These could be the reasons why Block.one is considering other blockchains.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Thailand FinTech Startup, Lightnet, Secures $31.2 Million to Scale Stellar Development

A Blockchain oriented startup dubbed ‘Lightnet’ has secured $31.2 million in Series A funding for scaling its network. The Thailand based firm was supported by big players in Asia’s Financial services space with United Overseas’ UOB Venture Management leading the pack.

Lightnet’s blockchain solution targets the fast-growing Asian remittance market that has in the past faced cost and time constraints despite its trillion-dollar potential. The firm leverages Stellar network’s fundamentals for money transfer solutions under its existing products; SmartNet, LiquidNet and BridgeNet. Chatchaval Jiaravanon, the chairman at Lightnet, further emphasized on this niche;

“We launched Lightnet to offer low-cost and instantaneous financial inclusivity and mobility to the four billion lives across Asia Pacific — all powered by Stellar’s fast, scalable, and sustainable blockchain technology,”

A Big Boys Favorite Blockchain FinTech in Asia?

As mentioned earlier, Lightnet attracted big corporates in this latest funding round. Other companies which took part include; Hanwha Investment and Securities, Du Capital, Signum Capital, Hopeshine Ventures, HashKey Capital, Uni-President Asset Holdings and Seven bank. It is notable that these are among the largest conglomerates in Asia with UOB dominating Singapore’s market while Hanwha Investment is a Korean financial services giant.

Lightnet’s Goal to Replace SWIFT

The newly injected funds have since placed Lightnet in a better position to make bigger moves; the firm is looking to edge existing tech like SWIFT. Ideally, the payments solution by Lightnet will be implemented through smart contracts in order to integrate more fiat agents; this will be an improvement from the current underground banking avenues and other channels which are not as convenient.

According to Lightnet’s vice chairman, they are optimistic that annual transactional volumes within the ecosystem will have risen to $50 billion in a span of three years. The firm plans to integrate with some existing fiat payment solution entities operating in Asia; Ksher, Yeahka, Seven Bank and MoneyGram have been identified as potentials so far.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Poloniex Crypto Exchange Set to Integrate Decentralized Trading Following its TRXMarket Acquisition

According to the blog posted on Wednesday, TRXMarket operations will be dubbed ‘Poloni DEX’ and will be accessible on the platform’s official website. Poloniex has been making strategic moves with a recent spin off from Boston based FinTech firm, Circle. Reports within the crypto space have confirmed that this transaction was partly funded by Justin Sun who is the TRX founder.

Stats posted on Tron’s announcement blog however seem to have overstated the value of Poloniex crypto exchange. The figures show that its transaction volume within a week had hit an overwhelming $30 million while coinmarketcap stats indicate the platform’s activity within the past day is below $40,000.

Poloniex noted that it acquired TRXMarket to scale its operations especially in terms of product variety. The firm had been working on a design that can increase the options available for users within its DEX ecosystem for over a year. This milestone comes as a fundamental boost to both Tron and Poloniex as alliances continue to forge ways for more innovations within blockchain and cryptocurrency.

Analysis conducted by The Block shows that the spin off from Circle could actually have been a positive from Poloniex. The exchange increased its market share by 100% following the event; this is despite a struggle to achieve over 1% market share for the better part of 2019. However, a larger part of the spike has been attributed to the zero-trading fee program launched immediately after the spinoff.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Gorgon Group Unleashes MasterMana Botnet to Steal Crypto Assets from Wallets

A new Botnet, dubbed the MasterMana Botnet, is making waves with its sophisticated, cheap and straightforward design. The botnet was designed to steal personal information and cryptocurrency, using a phishing scheme to gain access to your systems. MasterMana is suspected to be made by the cybercriminal organization: The Gorgon Group.

Cybercriminals are always interesting things to talk about. A century ago, no one would be even able to conceive something like the Internet. Twenty years ago, things like Cryptocurrencies were merely nonexistent.

Now, we’re in an era where the Internet is a necessity for day-to-day life, and cybercriminals are a constant threat to your finances, personal information, and even your identity. It’s worth more, and at the same time far, far less, than what you would imagine.

Cybersecurity researchers had tracked MasterMana down to have started as early as December 2018. They suspect it’s financially motivated due to the indiscriminate nature of the attacks placed on businesses’ emails. They showed a specific intent to find cryptocurrency wallets.

It starts with a phishing email. Said email contains an infected document. Opening the document activates a sophisticated malicious code, broken down into layers to help prevent identification. It further avoids detection by using trusted third party mediums to deliver the code.

Things like Bitly, Blogspot, and Pastebin, common data-sharing platforms, are utilized to download infected pieces of code. Usually, attackers use their private domains to host this, making it relatively easier to track.

Cutting out this vulnerability makes the MasterMana botnet all the more dangerous. The code downloads ultimately culminate in an infected .NET dll file that in turn creates a backdoor into the system. The first attacks used Revenge Rat, a free Remote Access Trojan, but as the attack’s lifespan went on, they switched to Azorult, another well-known trojan software.

Azorult itself is a powerful trojan software, designed to steal usernames, passwords, web history, cookies, and even your cryptocurrency wallets. The software can upload and download files on the infected system, take screenshots, and enumerate the system.

This, in turn, leaves it open for more vulnerabilities. Things like cryptominers and ransomware one of many things they can decide to put on your system.

Guerrilla Warfare’s New Front

The most staggering fact about all this isn’t the coding itself, while sophisticated. It isn’t even the risk of financial loss, while considerable. It’s the price tag on an operation like this. Countless amounts of funds are spent every year by major companies to ensure their vulnerable data stays secure. Billions of Dollars of research, development, and hard work have been put into the cybersecurity sector.

This attack operates on an estimated $160 in its entirety.

Using a single virtual private server and using free online services like Pastebin, these criminals managed to thwart a billion-dollar industry. They achieved this by just creating something that kept them ahead for a while. As time goes on, this attack will doubtlessly become less and less effective, but it shows how cheap you can go if you know what you’re doing.

For the sake of your safety, please be suspicious of any and all files attached to emails. Please be aware that these things only need one moment of lack of focus to get into your system. Keep your cybersecurity up to date, and above all, be safe.

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Author: Ali Raza

Coinbase Introduces USDC Bootstrap Fund To Support DeFi Projects; Investing $2M In Compound & dYdX

Coinbase has introduced a new initiative dubbed USDC Bootstrap Fund and just as the name suggests, the firm intends to boost developers with a fund in terms of USDC tokens.

In a blog post, the crypto exchange said that the new fund will be used to enhance developments of decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols. The new initiative ‘USDC Bootstrap’ will only invest in DeFi based projects using its stablecoin USDC.

DeFi is a relatively fresh concept in the blockchain sphere which can be described as the conventional financial products that you could get from a financial institution like lending or derivatives that have been developed on top of a blockchain. In other words, DeFi protocols consist of smart contracts that are governed by codes and the protocol on which they’re built on.

CoinDesk reports that after several deliberations with DeFi platform developers, the exchange says it realized that liquidity or availability of funds to borrow was one of the urgent needs for DeFi based initiatives. The exchange hopes that through grants, it will boost the development of the DeFi ecosystem.

To kickstart the initiative, Coinbase announced that it was investing 1 million USDC each in Compound as well as dYdX. However, unlike the Coinbase Ventures where investments are made in startups for an equity stake, the Bootstrap fund is designed to add to a protocol’s lending pool where interest will be returned after counterparties borrow from it.

Zhuoxun Yin, dYdX operations head, the most challenging aspect in the development of a new DeFi protocol is attracting borrowing demand. however, the addition of USDC to the lending pools will help to lower the interest rates and embolden clients to borrow more USDC.

Head of Bootstrap Fund Nemil Dalal explained that boosting lending protocols will help in the growth and development of DeFi, which is an area of much interest for Coinbase. In the recent past, Coinbase venture also invested in different DeFi protocols such as Dharma and BlockFi. Dalal explained that Coinbase was interested in enhancing decentralized finance within the banking industry.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Launch of New Node Monitoring Tool lndmon Announced by Lightning Network Dev

Launch-of-New-Node-Monitoring-Tool-lndmon-Announced-by-Lightning-Network-Dev
  • The new node monitoring tool has been dubbed ‘Indom’ by its creators.
  • It is being said that through the use of Indom, some of today’s existing peer-to-peer network problems can be avoided completely.

As per an all new blog post published by software developer Valentine Wallace a couple of days back, second-layer payment protocol — The Lightning Network — now has a new node monitoring tool available for use. The technology in question is called Indmon and it has been described as a “drop-in, dockerized monitoring solution” by its creators.

The primary goal of this tool, as per its developers, is to help avoid some niche’ network issues before they even arise. In regards to this development, it is worth highlighting that all through 2019, the market saw the emergence of various peer-to-peer network related problems that could have easily been avoided through the use of node monitors.

On the subject Wallace added:

“A routing node operator may want to be notified if multiple channels are closed in rapid succession or if their peer connections show signs of instability.”

In addition to avoiding potential network problems, Valentine’s above stated post also talks about other use cases for this technology.

For example, the monitoring tool can also be used for a host of financial reasons — such as trend observations, cost analysis etc.

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Author: Shiraz J